New York (CNN Business)The numbers just aren’t adding up for Civil Media.
Civil has been trying to sell at least that much worth of cryptocurrency tokens since mid-September. The tokens are intended to create the foundation of an economy that will power the company’s model for journalism.
The way Civil sees it, readers and patrons will buy tokens so that they have a bigger stake in the collection of news websites that the company partners with. All participants will abide by a journalistic code of ethics, and the community can leverage their tokens to challenge any content they believe runs afoul of the code. Tokens can also be used to tip journalists for their work.
But the token sale has so far fallen flat. The process to buy tokens was cumbersome, and according to one report, took 44 steps to complete. And while Civil said recently made changes so customers could pay for tokens directly with cash, its latest report suggests that wasn’t enough to drive a big uptick in sales.
The project has also faced intense skepticism from other journalists, who have questioned whether Civil’s model is accessible enough for the general public.
“This isn’t how we saw this going — but our company and our community are pushing hard to make it happen,” Civil CEO Matthew Iles wrote in the report Wednesday. “We don’t know if it will work.”
Civil says that nearly 700 people have purchased about $1.3 million worth of tokens. More than 1,500 people have committed to buy another $800,000, but Civil says those purchases have not yet been completed.
About $1.1 million worth of tokens — the majority of the funding — came from one company, a blockchain software business called ConsenSys that is Civil’s only investor to date. ConsenSys gave Civil $5 million in funding last year.
Iles wrote that the company entered the sale expecting to close “several large buyers” in addition to ConsenSys to close its gap.
“There’s still time left in our sale, and we are feverishly working to get as many people (large and small) to complete the final steps to get their contributions in before it’s too late,” he wrote.
The sale closes at midnight ET on October 15. The company has previously said that the money will be returned if it does not hit the soft cap.
Iles wrote Wednesday that Civil plans to detail the final results next Tuesday, along with the project’s next steps. He recently told CNN Business that the company’s ability to generate operating capital was not tied to the cryptocurrency system.